Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reportedly told his Ministerial colleagues that DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks on Sanatana Dharmarequired a “proper response” based on “facts of the issue” within the contemporary situation and emphasised that the Constitution does not allow for abuse of any religion.
On the issue of Bharat being substituted for India in government communication in English as well, Mr. Modi reportedly said that only those authorised to speak on behalf of the government should comment on the issue.
He was addressing a meeting of his Council of Ministers ahead of the G-20 summit in New Delhi. At the meeting, described as “informal”, sources said Foreign Minister Vinay Kwatra made a presentation on protocol and other issues that Ministers, especially those designated as Ministers-in-Waiting to various foreign dignitaries were to observe.
Those present said that while most of the meeting was about the G-20 Summit under India’s Presidency, Mr. Modi said that Mr. Udhayanidhi’s remarks should not be the subject of throwaway comments from government Ministers but that it was a serious matter that should elicit a proper response.
Mr. Udhayanidhi had, while addressing a conference of Progressive Writers in Chennai on Saturday, said that Sanatana Dharma is like dengue and malaria which needed to be eradicated. “Such things should not be opposed, but destroyed,” he had said.
The remarks raised a plethora of reactions across the board with BJP demanding clarity from DMK ally Congress on whether or not they shared Mr. Udhayanidhi’s sentiments on Sanatana Dharma. BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya had posted on X (formerly twitter) that the remark was akin to a call for “genocide” of 80% of the population of India that follows Sanatana Dharma.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur, an FIR has been registered against Mr. Udhayanidhi and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s son and Karnataka IT Minister Priyank Kharge, who had supported the former in the controversy, for allegedly outraging religious feelings with their statements.